This is the video shot of US military personnel firing upon and killing over a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists. Reuters has tried to obtain the video from the Pentagon several times without success. Thanks to anonymous whistleblowers, Wikileaks now has the video.
The following is from Wikileaks’ site, Collateral Murder.
5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.
Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.
The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.
After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.
Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.
WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.
WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.
WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.
You can get the video via a torrent.
You can read here how WikiLeaks cracked the video encryption.
Here is Reuters’ response.
WikiLeaks also has a resources page where you can find many resources about this incident.
Remember folks, no one in the video appeared to be an immediate threat to anyone. The RPG the military saw was a camera. The guy trying to crawl away was a reporter. The guy driving the van was a good samaritan who rented his van out as a means of making a living. The guys in the van were Reuters employees.
Also remember, the military was under fire a few blocks away. This is a vital clue to the mindset of the men in the chopper. There was no military nearby. One would have to question what the man with the RPG/telephoto lens was pointing at. I concluded it was a camera because I’m around them all the time and the behavior of the men appeared to me to be that of someone who takes lots of pictures, not someone preparing to blow up some American soldiers. I did see something that looked like an RPG (or a folded up tripod or an umbrella or AK-47) at the beginning of the video (around 3:39).
If you track the guy with the RPG (the one that stopped/slowed down at the corner), he was moving too slowly to be the one at the corner with a telephoto lens.
Regardless of whether this incident was an accident, human error or a huge screw up, the most appalling part of the video is the bloodlust the soldiers have. Their anticipation and hope that the reporter crawling away would pick up a weapon so they could shoot him is absolutely disgusting.”All you gotta do is pick up a weapon.” When the van pulled up, they couldn’t wait to get approval to shoot it up. Killing people should never be celebrated. War is hell folks and there’s a lot of crazy people on our side.
Also questionable is the response from the military. They did an investigation and concluded no wrongdoing on the part of the soldier. Then, they covered it up. Then they got mad because whistleblowers gave WikiLeaks the video. The responsible thing to do would have been to explain to the public what had happened. Let us decide. I’m sure there wouldn’t be the hate and vitriol spewing forth that there is today.
My suggestion is to watch the short and uncut versions. Read what you can about the incident and make your own decision. No one is going to agree completely, but at least you can have an informed opinion.